Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for August 6th, 2012

Return of the GOPM

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Making a Glorious One-Pot Meal for The Wife tomorrow.

Into my Staub 2.25-qt round cocotte, layered, from bottom to top:

onion
garlic
celery
1/2 cup converted rice
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 lb Dover sole
freshly ground pepper
one lemon, peeled, then cut into chunks
2 Tbsp capers, drained
some chopped Kalamata olives
a bulb of fennel, cored and thinly sliced
if room: 1 yellow crookneck squash
cauliflower, probably sliced (easiest way to deal with it)
1 large tomato, sliced

Mix well and pour over:
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp soy sauce

Cover, put into 450ºF oven for 45 minutes. Two meals.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2012 at 6:57 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, GOPM, Recipes

For-profit hospitals and unnecessary procedures

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HCA, a large chain of for-profit hospitals, seems to have found an efficient way to increase profits: performing heart surgery on patients that did not need it but were insured. Reed Abelson and Julie Cresswell report in the NY Times:

In the summer of 2010, a troubling letter reached the chief ethics officer of the hospital giant HCA, written by a former nurse at one of the company’s hospitals in Florida.

In a follow-up interview, the nurse said a doctor at the Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, in the small coastal city of Fort Pierce, had been performing heart procedures on patients who did not need them, putting their lives at risk.

“It bothered me,” the nurse, C. T. Tomlinson, said in a telephone interview. “I’m a registered nurse. I care about my patients.”

In less than two months, an internal investigation by HCA concluded the nurse was right.

“The allegations related to unnecessary procedures being performed in the cath lab are substantiated,” according to a confidential memo written by a company ethics officer, Stephen Johnson, and reviewed by The New York Times.

Mr. Tomlinson’s contract was not renewed, a move that Mr. Johnson said in the memo was in retaliation for his complaints.

But the nurse’s complaint was far from the only evidence that unnecessary — even dangerous — procedures were taking place at some HCA hospitals, driving up costs and increasing profits.

HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the United States with 163 facilities, had uncovered evidence as far back as 2002 and as recently as late 2010 showing that some cardiologists at several of its hospitals in Florida were unable to justify many of the procedures they were performing. Those hospitals included the Cedars Medical Center in Miami, which the company no longer owns, and the Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. In some cases, the doctors made misleading statements in medical records that made it appear the procedures were necessary, according to internal reports.

Questions about the necessity of medical procedures — especially in the realm of cardiology — are not uncommon. None of the internal documents reviewed calculate just how many such procedures there were or how many patients might have died or been injured as a result. But the documents suggest that the problems at HCA went beyond a rogue doctor or two. . .

Continue reading. It’s a grim story, and the specifics are disturbing.

Profit-making institutions are compelled to show ever-increasing profits, no matter what. If profits don’t increase each year, top management jobs are at risk, so by golly, those profits do increase. That is why some things—hospitals, for example—are better left as non-profits.

UPDATE: The Eldest informs me that for-profit hospitals are illegal in Maryland—because of the obvious conflicts of interest that then occur.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2012 at 4:02 pm

Weird stuff to get rid of

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I wasn’t thinking when I got stuff that I might have to get rid of it. What do you do with fine stationery? I have a fair collection, but who wants stationery? OTOH, it’s very nice stationery, some handmade, so perhaps an eBay listing of the lot? I assume that blank stationery can be shipped media mail.

These are the questions that occupy me these days: very mundane stuff.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2012 at 10:44 am

Posted in Daily life

Interesting point on threats to the public

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James Fallows makes an interesting point in this post:

. . . One person who (unsuccessfully) threatened the lives of his fellow airline passengers ten-and-a-half years ago has changed air travel for every single passenger on every U.S. flight in all the time since then. We responded (and over-responded) to that episode with a “this won’t happen again” determination, like other countries’ response to mass shootings. It is hard to know what kind of mass killing with guns would evoke a similar determination in America. . .

Read the whole thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2012 at 10:13 am

Posted in Daily life

The 1% even reward themselves for fraud

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Pam Martens has an interesting article at Wall Street on Parade today:

When WorldCom filed for bankruptcy in July 2002 as a result of a massive accounting fraud, it led to over 12,000 WorldCom employees losing their jobs, their 401(k)s, their medical insurance, and much of the severance they were owed.  Some of the employees set up a fund to help each other save their homes or pay critical bills.  Even members of Congress were sympathetic to the plight of the workers and contributed to the fund the tens of thousands of dollars that WorldCom had given in political donations.

But billionaire Scrooge, Sanford (Sandy) Weill, who was Chairman and CEO of Citigroup – the firm that was charged with aiding and abetting the fraud and paid a total of $3.05 billion to settle with regulators and defrauded shareholders, has quietly raked in $2,048,226 between 2006 and 2010 from a fund meant for victims of the fraud.  Given the role that Weill’s firm played in the fraud, that’s akin to the driver of the getaway car approaching the bank manager after the holdup and asking if he can get his parking comped.

Because the WorldCom settlement fund had $6 billion to disperse and $46.5 billion in claims, every dollar Weill took from the fund meant some actual needy person did without. . .

Continue reading. More details at the link, including this nugget:

On April 28, 2003, the SEC settled its charges in the WorldCom matter against Citigroup and its disgraced research analyst, Jack Grubman, who pumped out buy ratings on stocks to the public while admitting in internal emails that the stocks were dogs.  Citigroup paid $400 million to settle with the SEC and other regulators.  Grubman paid $15 million and was banned from the securities industry for life.  Grubman’s severance was a cool $32 million.  Sandy Weill was mentioned by name in the SEC enforcement action:

“In late November 1999, Grubman upgraded AT&T Corporation from a Neutral (3) – his longtime rating on the stock – to a Buy (1). SSB and Grubman did not disclose in the report that Grubman had a conflict of interest relating to his evaluation of AT&T or that his objectivity had been compromised. Prior to the upgrade, Sanford I. Weill, the co-CEO and Chairman of Citigroup (and a member of the AT&T board of directors), had asked Grubman to take a ‘fresh look’ at AT&T. Thereafter, during the time that Grubman was conducting his ‘fresh look’ at the company, Grubman had asked Weill for assistance in gaining admission for his children to the selective 92nd Street Y preschool in New York City. After Grubman upgraded AT&T and his children had been admitted to the preschool, Grubman stated privately that he had upgraded AT&T to help his children get into the 92nd Street Y preschool.”

Grubman’s “punishment” doesn’t really seem so severe, given that he walks away with a n35 $17 million ($32 million severance minus $15 million fine). That $17 million should tide him over.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2012 at 8:36 am

Posted in Business, Government

Avocado and Vetiver

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Very pleasant shave this morning: nothing like a two-day beard for a great shave. After the usual pre-shave beard wash with high-glycerin soap, I used my Whipped Dog silvertip with the ceramic handle to work up a fine lather from TOBS Avocado shaving cream, which has a mild fragrance that’s quite pleasing.

The bakelite Slant really is extraordinarily comfortable. Somehow the lack of weight doesn’t seem a problem at all—I imagine at this point I simply know how much pressure I need, and I automatically provide what the weight of the razor does not. The last time I used the razor I thought the Swedish Gillette blade might have to be replaced, but no problem with it: smooth shave, nick-free, close, and comfortable.

A splash of Saint Charles Shave Very V aftershave, and I’m ready to do more packing.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2012 at 8:00 am

Posted in Shaving

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